Wednesday, November 20, 2019

TheList 5147

The List 5147 TGB

To All,

I hope that you all had a great weekend.



This Day in Naval History

November 18

1889 The battleship Maine launches at the New York Navy Yard.

1922 In a PT seaplane, Cmdr. Kenneth Whiting makes the first catapult launching from an aircraft carrier at anchor, USS Langley (CV 1), in the York River.

1943 USS Bluefish (SS 222) sinks the Japanese destroyer Sanae and damages the oiler Ondo 90 miles south of Basilan Island.

1944 USS Blackfin (SS 322) diverts from her war patrol and picks up captured Japanese cryptographic and technical equipment, along with other secret documents, west of Camurong River on the north coast of Mindoro, Philippines.

1944 USS Peto (SS 265), USS Spadefish (SS 411), and USS Sunfish (SS 281) attack the same Japanese convoy in the East China. Peto sinks army cargo ships Aisakasan Maru and Chinkai Maru. Spadefish sinks auxiliary submarine chaser Cha 156 and Sunfish sinks army transport Seisho Maru.

1962 USS Currituck (AV 7) rescues 13 Japanese fishermen from their disabled fishing boat Seiyu Maru, which was damaged in Typhoon Karen.

2017 The U.S. Navy's Undersea Rescue Command (URC) deploys to Argentina to support the South American nation's search for the Argentinean Navy submarine A.R.A. San Juan in the Southern Atlantic. The boat went missing on Nov. 15. The Argentinian Navy called off the ensuing rescue mission on Nov. 30 and shifted its focus to locating the boat and determining the cause of its disappearance.

Thanks to CHINFO

Executive Summary:

• The U.S. and South Korea postponed an air exercise scheduled for Monday in an effort to restart disarmament talks between the U.S. and North Korea, reports the Wall Street Journal.

• USNI News reports that the Navy is curtailing training for air wings and canceling planned maintenance availabilities in the face of a possible full-year continuing resolution.

• The Associated Press reports that China's first domestically constructed aircraft carrier transited the Taiwan Strait on Sunday.

• Multiple outlets reported on violent confrontations between riot police and activists at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.


This day in History

1477 William Claxton publishes the first dated book printed in England. It is a translation from the French of The Dictes and Sayings of the Philosopers by Earl Rivers.

1626 St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome is officially dedicated.

1861 The first provisional meeting of the Confederate Congress is held in Richmond, Virginia.

1865 Mark Twain's first story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is published in the New York Saturday Press.

1901 The second Hay-Pauncefote Treaty is signed. The United States is given extensive rights by Britain for building and operating a canal through Central America.

1905 The Norwegian Parliament elects Prince Charles of Denmark to be the next King of Norway. Prince Charles takes the name Haakon VII.

1906 Anarchists bomb St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

1912 Cholera breaks out in Constantinople, in the Ottoman Empire.

1921 New York City considers varying work hours to avoid long traffic jams.

1928 Mickey mouse makes his film debut in Steamboat Willie, the first animated talking picture.

1936 The main span of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is joined.

1939 The Irish Republican Army explodes three bombs in Piccadilly Circus.

1943 RAF bombs Berlin, using 440 aircraft and losing nine of those and 53 air crew members; damage to the German capital is light, with 131 dead.

1949 The U.S. Air Force grounds B-29s after two crashes and 23 deaths in three days.

1950 The Bureau of Mines discloses its first production of oil from coal in practical amounts.

1968 Soviets recover the Zond 6 spacecraft after a flight around the moon.

1978 Peoples Temple cult leader Jim Jones leads his followers to a mass murder-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana, hours after cult member killed Congressman Leo J. Ryan of California.

1983 Argentina announces its ability to produce enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.

1984 The Soviet Union helps deliver American wheat during the Ethiopian famine.

1991 The Croatian city of Vukovar surrenders to Yugoslav People's Army and allied Serb paramilitary forces after an 87-day siege.

1993 Twenty-one political parties approve a new constitution for South Africa that expands voter rights and ends the rule of the country's white minority.

2002 UN weapons inspectors under Hans Blix arrive in Iraq.

2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional; the legislature fails to act within the mandated 180 days, and on May 17, 2004, Massachusetts becomes the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.


Thanks to the Bear


November 17, 2019Bear Taylor0 Comments


LEST WE FORGET… The NEW YORK TIMES, Friday, 29 August 1969… CASUALTIES ON BOTH SIDES IN VIETNAM DROP IN WEEK– "Casualties for the United States, South Vietnam and the enemy dropped last week as enemy-initiated attacks subsided…United States headquarters said that 190 Americans had been killed and 1,367 wounded compared with 244 killed and 1,409 wounded the week before. The week saw a surge of enemy infantry and rocket atttacks. South Vietnamese headquarters reported 398 Government soldiers killed and 928 wounded in the week that ended last Saturday, 23 Aug. The week before, South Vietnam listed 477 killed and 1,269 wounded. The two commands said that 2,757 Vietcong and North Vietnamese were killed last week compared with the week before of 3,898."

A total of 38,128 Americans have been killed in action in Vietnam since Jan. 1, 1961. The total of those who have been wounded is at 247,096. BRUCE NORTON writing in his book FORCE RECON DIARY: "Combat is fast, unfair, cruel, and dirty. It is meant to be that way so that the terrible experience is branded into the memory of those who are fortunate enough to survive. It is up to those survivors to ensure that the experience is recorded and passed along to those who just might want to try it."…

Who would have thought that on this day in 1969, fifty years ago, American participation in the Vietnam war would continue into 1973 and more than 20,000 more American warriors would perish fighting for a lost cause in the quagmire of Southeast Asia?…

Good Morning. It is 18 November 2019. Humble Host remembers the Forty-sScond week of the relentless hunt for trucks and infiltrators on the Ho Chi Minh Trail linking North Vietnam and their armed forces fighting in South Vietnam.

I. HEAD LINES FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES for 25 through 31 August 1969…

A. U.S. and WORLD NEWS… (25 Aug) U.S. OFFICIALS SEE PUBLIC SCHOOL INTEGRATION DOUBLING IN SOUTH–Expected Rise This Fall To 40% Applies to Negroes Entering White Schools–No Rebellion Develops–Southern Compliance With Law Could Be Greater Than In Other Areas… ISRAEL DENOUNCES ARABS' CAMPAIGN SINCE SHRINE FIRE–Eban Charges They Try To Gain Political Advantage From Loss–200 In New York Protest Fire At Al Alksa Mosque In Jerusalem… AUSTRALIAN CARRIER SKIPPER CLEARED IN COLLISON AT SEA–Australian Military Judge Orders His Aquittal… (26 Aug) MRS. GANDHI WINS ON PARTY CENSURE–Foes Back Down In Fight Over Presidency Choice… THAIS EASE VIEW OF U.S. TROOP CUT–Premier Declares Bankok Wants No Withdrawal Of American Forces Now… CAPITAL DOUBTS WAR IN MIDEAST–But Violence Is Expected–Jerusalem Fire And Iraqi Executions Deplored... (27 Aug) SECURITY COUNCIL CONDEMNS ISRAEL FOR LEBANON RAID– U.N.Body By Unanimous Vote Deplores August 11 Attack on Village–All Incidents Decried–Violations Of Cease-Fire By Both Sides Are Scored–Israeli Voices Criticism… JOB PROTEST SPURS PITTSBURG CLASH–Negroes Battle Policemen–180 arrested, 45 Injured… MITCHELL AIDES AGREE TO PROTEST DELAY ON CIVIL RIGHTS–40 Justice Agency Lawyers Want Assurances Of Firm Stand By White House–Wide Dissent Reported–Closed Parley In Washington Follows Move to Put Off Integration in Mississippi… ARABS WILL MEET TO RALLY FORCES–Defense Unit To Sit In Fall–Rocket Launchers Found On Site Near Jerusalem Mosque… (28 Aug) ISRAELIS ATTACK NILE VALLEY POST–Forces Presumed Ferried By Helicopter Raid A U.A.R. Military Headquarters… WHITE LOUISIANA SCHOOL CLOSES AFTER 6 NEGRO TEACHERS ENTER… SENATOR PERCY IN THAILAND SAYS U.S. WILL ONLY PULL OUT 1,500 MEN… SECRETARY OF ARMY GENERAL SEES MORE TROOP CUTS… TROOPS DISBURSE ARKANSAS WHITES–Crowd Calls for Lynching Of 3 Negro Suspects…NEGRO GROUPS STEP-UP MILITANCY IN DRIVE TO JOIN BUILDING UNIONS–Blacks Unsatisfied With Slow Pace Of Job Integration, Increase Picketing And Work Stoppage At Projects… (29 Aug) SOVIET SAYS WAR WITH CHINESE WOULD PERIL ALL–Pravda Editorial Warns It Would Inevitably Involve Use Of Atomic Weapons–Peking Policies Scored–I.S. Discounts Reprot That Moscow may Launch A Strike Against China… NORTH KOREA SAYS 3 ON DOWNED COPTER ARE ALIVE–2 Were Badly Wounded–An Apology Is Demanded… WHITE HOUSE WINS MISSISSIPPI DELAY IN DESEGREGATION APPEALS COURT BACKS ADMINISTRATION–Lawyers See Wave Of Bids For School Stays–An Appeal Is Planned–NAACP Fund to Ask For A Reversal–Judges Set New Deadline Of 1 December… ISRAELI JETS RAID JORDANIANS AGAIN–Third Aerial Strike In Week Follows Firing By Arabs… (30 Aug) U.S. JET WITH 113 HIJACKED TO SYRIA–By 2 Young Arabs–Commandos Assert Action Is Reprisal For American Assistance To Israelis–Boeing 707 Is Diverted Over Italy As Girl Takes Command… SYRIA IS ADMITTING AMERICANS AGAIN–1967 Ban Recinded… TROOP MOVEMENTS IN CHINA REPORTED–Shift Points To Preparations For Defensive Strategy In Possible Civil War… U.S. ACTS QUICKLY ON COPTERS CREW–Hope Voiced North Koreans Will Release 3 Men Soon… NAVY FIRM ON CLOSING OF BROOKLYN YARD–Says Economics Require–Mayor Lindsay Insists Jobs At Laboratory Be Saved… 26 U.S. AIRCRAFT HIJACKED IN A YEAR… (31 Aug) SYRIA FREES 105 ON HIJACKED TWA JET–6 Israelis Held–Mrs. Meir Issues Warning–Rogers Voices Shock At Action Of Damascus–96 Arive In Athens… COLLEGE TUITION AND FEES IN SHARP SPIRAL–Out-Of-State Students Bear Brundt Of Cost Rise At Public Universities… 65% IN GALLUP POLL SUPPORT NIXON ON WELFARE REFORM…

B. THE WAR IN VIETNAM… (25 Aug) U.S. UNITS BATTLE FOE FOR SEVEN HOURS– Report Killing 48–American Deaths Put At 2–Hospital At Cam Ranh Bay Attacked Second Time–All 8 On Copter Found–No Survivors In Downing In Danang Area–Abrams Sees Resor Again…"United States infantrymen, backed by planes and artillery, battered an enemy force for more than seven hours yesterday about 28 miles northwest of Saigon…Forty-eight enemy soldiers were killed in the battle, which broke out when a United States patrol spotted a force of about 60 men dug-in near Cuchi, headquarters of the United States 25th Infantry Division…U.S. losses were 2 killed and five wounded. The battle ended at dusk when the enemy withdrew."…MILITARY GAINS BY PATHET LAO WORRY THAILAND… (26 Aug) B-52s STRIKE NORTH OF SAIGON TO BLUNT NEW ENEMY ASSAULTS… "United States B-52 bombers struck about 80 miles north of Saigon yesterday in a move to blunt an expected round of enemy attacks. Five missions were flown against enemy activity, base camps, bunkers, supply and staging areas in south Vietnamese territory close to the Cambodian border (Operation Menu??)... (27 Aug) 138 NORTH VIETNAMESE ARE KILLED IN BRUSHLANDS SOUTH OF DANANG… "… as savage fighting erupted again across the brushlands south of Danang…Twelve Americans were reported killed and 97 wounded in the battles yesterday in the vicinity of United States artillery posts atop small hills about 30 miles south of the big base there. United States intelligence sources believe that Hanoi has ordered the stepped-up fighting around remote sites in an effort to have the United States commit reinforcements protecting the populated coastal plain. That would leave key cities such as Hoian and Tamky more vulnerable to attacks and terrorist raids enabling the Vietcong to contend that the Government cannot provide security there….638 North Vietnamese have died since the current series of battles started a week ago."… (28 Aug) G.I.'s IN TWO CLASHES SOUTH OF DANANG–U.S. Copter Shot Down On Way To Aid Wounded… "A task force of United States marines and infantrymen clashed twice yesterday with North Vietnamese troops in the rolling foothills 30 miles southwest of Danang… There has been hard fighting there since August 17 with at least 650 enemy soldiers and more than 60 Americans listed as killed."… (29 Aug) G.I.'s IN BATTLE AREA SOUTH OF DANANG SHRUG OFF STORY OF BALKY COMPANY A…"When the 900 American soldiers began moving along the valley floor south of Danang at 5:30 A.M. today, the temperture stood at 84-degrees. By noon it was 118-degrees and enemy fire had killed at least a dozen of the Americans. Several hundred men have been fighting here for more than a week. Today some of them shrugged when they heard of an incident that occurred early on Sunday when a company commander ordered to move forward told his superior, 'My men refuse to go.'" (THE REST OF THE STORY AT HUMBLE HOST'S END NOTE…) …(30 Aug) ALLIES REINFORCED SOUTH OF DANANG–3,000 troops Seek To Drive Enemy From Hills… …"…virtually doubling the size of the force attempting to trap a North Vietnamese army division that has been engaged in the area (called "Death Valley") for the last 14 days. The move placed about 3,000 allied troops on four sides of a jungled complex of hills roughly 2 1/2 miles long on the northern edge of the Hiepduc Valley 30-miles southwest of Danang. First Marine Division sources said that sharp fighting in the valley and on the lower slopes in recent days indicated a heavy concentration of enemy forces, possibly most of the Second North Vietnamese Army Division, which allied officers say has already lost up to 1,000 men in two weeks of fighting near Hiepduc."… (The story of this engagement is told in detail in the book DEATH VALLEY: The Summer Offensive, I Corps, August 1969 by KEITH WILLIAM NOLAN and in Rocky Bleier's FIGHTING BACK. Four out of five stars for both books. I love reading about courage under fire where men sharing danger care for each other.)…

III. COMMANDO HUNT II (April-November 1969) Source: Headquarters, PACAF, Summary of Air Operations Southeast Asia, AUGUST 1969 (Documents held at Air Force HRA, Maxwell, AFB)… PERIOD SUMMARY… (Quote)… "Analysis of August reconnaissance flights over North Vietnam indicates that the enemy is stockpiling supplies in the Mu Gia and Ban Karai Pass areas for movement through the Laotian road system during the dry season (Starting in November). The western DMZ cross-border routes continue to be the only infiltration routes open into southern Laos.

"Attack sorties flown by all services in Laos during August decreased 7% from the July total. USAF Laotian attack sorties increased slightly reflecting increased support for friendly ground forces in Barrel Roll. The sharply reduced air operations in Steel Tiger reflect the reduced enemy logistics movement. Pilots and Roadwatch Teams sighted 2,893 vehicles in Laos during August. The 93 average daily sightings equal the July average. Barrel Roll attack sorties increased to 4,648 in August. This total is 2.3 times June 1969 level and 6 times the level of activity in August 1968. The concentration of effort in Barrel Roll was in response to the enemy's unprecedented rainy season offensive and in support of OPERATION ABOUT FACE. Navy aircraft flew 16 Barrel Roll sorties using COMMANDO NAIL (A-6 Radar) tactics. Barrel Roll BDA included 54 vehicles, 1,977 buildings, and 42 AA sites damaged or destroyed.

"Total attack sorties flown by all services were down 24% from the previous month. 59% of the sorties were flown against truck parks/storage areas. All weather procedures were used on 19% of all sorties. Pilots and Roadwatch Teams sighted 2001 vehicles in Steel Tiger (COMMANDO HUNT) during August. Steel Tiger BDA included 109 trucks, 482 buildings, and 27 AA sites damaged or destroyed.

"Ground activity in South Vietnam remained at a low level during August. Total sorties flown by all services increased 3.6% over July to 864,107. On 12 August there were 135 attacks by fire on friendly installations and population centers, the first major activity of this type since 6 June. 17,872 attack sorties were flown by tactical aircraft in South Vietnam during August, a 3.3% increase over the July total. Strike results included 1,714 enemy confirmed KBA and 1,910 sampans destroye or damaged. Total ARC LIGHT sorties declined 16.5% to 1,445 in August. The primary decrease occurred in Laso where ARC LIGHT sorties declined 65.2%, from 417 sorties to 145.

"Tactical Combat Skyspot missions were down 41%, reflecting the decline of COMMANDO SCARF missions and improved weather.

"17 fixed wing and 40 rotary wing aircraft were reported lost to enemy action in Southeast Asia during August. A USMC F-4B was reported missing on an escort mission over Route Package I in North Vietnam on 7 August. The overall Southeast Asia combat loss rate for August was 0.18 losses per 1,000 combat sorties."…


The following was clipped from VIETNAM CHRONICLES: The Abrams Tapes, 1968-1972. The quote is from a briefing at the MACV headquarters on 28 August 1969… Briefer: "With respect to combat operations, the ultimate objective in the Republic of 'South Vietnam (sic) is to provide security for the population so that pacification can proceed…. Strategically we're conducting a mobile defense within the political boundaries of South Vietnam, supported by an interdiction campaign where we're permitted to do so. Tactically, we conduct extensive reconnaissance to detect enemy units and react to prevent them from approaching and operating in the populated areas. We attempt to preempt the enemy by promptly engaging his forces and seizing, or destroying, his supply caches. And in so doing we make extensive use of our flexible, concentrated firepower, particularly our tactical air and our B-52s."

HUMBLE HOST NOTE: I reckon this short sketch of combat operations then comports with our 2019 operations in Aghanistan and Iraq: the Strategic Defense…

III. AIRCRAFT LOSSES IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: 25-31 AUGUST 1069… References include Chris Hobson's recently updated VIETNAM AIR LOSSES that has been made available online, in its entirety, at During the week ending 31 August the United States lost four fixed wing aircraft and five valiant warrior aviators…

(1) On 25 August an F-105D of the 357th TFS and 355th TFW out of Takhli was downed on a strike mission in Barrel Roll. The Thunderchief was piloted by MAJOR STEVEN ROY SANDERS. He was killed while attacking enemy troops 30 miles east of the Plaine des Jarres. He had expended his externally carried ordnance on five runs on the enemy before being hit by ground fire on his bold sixth pass strafing the troops. His aircraft failed to recover from the diving pass and MAJOR SANDERS perished in the crash. He was initially listed as missing in action but was later declared "killed in action-body not recovered." However, Humble Host notes that MAJOR SANDERS is NOT listed by DPAA on either the recovered or not recovered rolls of the missing. He is memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Hawaii. One source lists this fallen warrior as "buried" at the cemetery… Wherever he rests, he is remembered on this 50th anniversary of his final flight with respect and admiration as a brave, bold, distinguished warrior…

(2) On 27 August an F-4D of the 480th TFS and37th TFW out of Phu Cat piloted by CAPTAIN C.J. WINGERT and WSO MAJOR J.J. BLACK was downed by ground fire attacking an automatic weapons site 25 miles south of Quang Ngai, South Vietnam. The Phantom was hit in the port engine on the second diving attack on the weapons site. CAPTAIN WINGERT turned east, flew out to sea and when the aircraft quit flying five miles at sea, both officers ejected. They were rescued by an Army helicopter to fly and fight again…

(3) On 29 August a Marine F-4B of the VFMA-542 Bengals and MAG-11 out of Danang crewed by CAPTAIN JERRY ALLEN ZIMMER, USMC, and 1LT ALBERT STEPHEN GRAF, USMC, was hit by ground fire while dropping 500-pound Snakeye bombs and Napalm to clear a landing zone for a Recon insert 20 miles south of Danang. The aircraft burst into flame and flew into the ground before either Marine could eject. The 1st Force Recon team hiked to the area and determined that there were no survivors of the crash. However, due to the presence of unexpended ordnance in the wreckage and the close proximity of enemy troops the bodies were not recovered at that time. They were listed as Killed-in-Action, Body Not Recovered, a status in which they remain today. But the story doesn't end there. Read the story of the tireless and heroic forty year effort of ELAINE ZIMMER DAVIS to find her Marine at:


(4) On 29 August the Marines also lost an OV-10A Bronco of VMO-6 and MAG-39 out of Quang Tri. CAPTAIN JACK ERVIN SCHOBER, USMC, and 1LT RICHARD DIDACUS KRUPA, USMC, were killed on takeoff when an engine failed and the Bronco rolled over and crashed into a hangar at the field. 1LT KRUPA ejected but was killed by a steel beam in the roof of the new hangar. This was the third of three OV-10s the squadron lost on the combat deployment. Both Marines rest in peace at Arlington National Cemetery…

IV. HUMBLE HOST END NOTE: A War Story: BALKY COMPANY A… From The New York Times…

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26 (AP)… "On the ground, two battles flared late south of Danang in the area that has seen the heaviest recent fighting. Soldiers of the Americal Division's 196th Light Infantry Brigade were reported to have killed 74 of the enemy in one fight 30 miles south of Danang suffering one killed and 49 wounded."…

TUESDAY, 26 AUGUST, NYT, Page 1: A dispatch from AP reporters Horst Faas and Peter Arnett, dateline, Monday, August 25, Songchang Valley, South Vietnam:

TOLD TO MOVE AGAIN ON 6th DEADLY DAY, COMPANY A REFUSES… "'I am sorry, sir, but my men refused to move out,' Lieutenant Eugene Shurtz, Jr. reported to his battalion commander over a crackling field telephone. Company A of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade's battleworn Third Battalion had been ordered at dawn yesterday to move once more down the jungled rocky slope of Nuilon Mountain into a labyrinth of North Vietnamese bunkers and trench lines 31 miles south of Danang. For five days the company had obeyed orders to make this push. Each time it had been thrown back by invisible enemy forces, which waited through bombs and artillery shells for the Americans to come close then picked them off….Yesterday, Lcol Robert C. Bacon, the battalion commander, had been waiting for Company A to move out. He was leading three of his companies in the assault. He paled when he was told by Lt Shurtz that the soldiers of Company A would not follow orders. 'Repeat that please,' he said, without raising his voice. 'Have you told them what it means to disobey orders under fire?'…"I think they understand,' the lieutenant replied, 'but some of them simply had enough–they are broken. These are boys here who have only 90 days left in Vietnam. They want to go home in one piece. The situation is psychic here.' 'Are you talking about enlisted men, or are the N.C.O.s also involved?' the colonel asked. 'That's the difficulty here,' Lt Shurtz said. 'We've got a leadership problem. Most of our squad and platoon leaders have been killed or wounded.' At that point in the fight Company A was down to 60 men, half of its assigned combat strength. The colonel told the lieutenant to talk to them again and tell them that the enemy bunkers are empty–the enemy has withdrawn. The mission of Company A today is to recover their dead. They have no reason to be afraid. Please take a hand-count of how many really do not want to go.' The lieutenant came back a few minutes later: 'They won't go colonel, and I did not ask for the hand count because I am afraid that they all stick together even though some might prefer to go.' The colonel told him: 'Leave these men on the hill and take your C.P. element and move to the objective." The lieutenant said he was preparing to move his command post and asked: "What do we do with the ammunition supplies? Shall we destroy them?' The colonel ordered: 'Leave it with them.'… VETERAN GIVEN JOB… Then Colonel Bacon told his executive officer, Major Richard Waite, and one of his Vietnam veterans, Sgt. Okey Blankenship, to fly from the battalion base across the valley to talk to Company A. 'Give them a pep talk and a kick in the butt,' he said. They found the men of Company A exhausted in the tall, blackened elephant grass, their uniforms ripped and caked with dirt. 'One of them was crying,' Sergeant Blankenship said. The soldiers told why they would not move. 'It poured out of them,' the sergeant said. They said they were sick of the endless battling in torrid heat, the constant danger of sudden firefights by day and the mortar fire and enemy probing at night. They said that they had not enough sleep and that they were pushed too hard. They had not had any mail or hot food. They had not had any of the little comforts that made the war endurable. Helicopters brought in the basic needs–ammunition, food and water–at a tremendous risk under heavy enemy ground fire. But the men believed that they were in danger of annhilation and would go no farther. Major Bacon and Sergeant Blankenship listened to the soldiers, most of them a generation younger, draftees 19 and 20 years old. Sergeant Blankenship, a quick-tempered man began arguing. 'One of them yelled to me his company had suffered too much and that it should not have to go on,' Sergeant Blankenship said. 'I answered him that another company was down to 15 men still on the move–and I lied to him–and he asked me, 'Why did they do it?' I replied: 'Maybe they have got something a little more than what you have got.' The soldier howled, 'Don't call us cowards, we are not cowards,' running toward sergeant Blankenship, fists up. Sergeant Blankenship turned and walked down the ridge line to the company commander. The sergeant looked back and saw that the men of Company A were stirring. They picked up their rifles, fell into a loose formation and followed him down the cratered slope."…

WEDNESDAY, 27 AUGUST, NYT… (AP) Saigon. COMMANDER OF UNIT THAT WOULDN'T FIGHT RELIEVED IN VIETNAM… "The company commander whose men refused to go into battle Sunday has been relieved of his job and is being transferred to a new post, his battalion commander said today. The commander of Company A, Lieutenant Eugene Shurtz, Jr., will be given a new assignment with the 196th Brigade of the Americal Division. The battalion commander Lieut. Col. Robert C. Bacon, said in a telephone interview from the battalion base camp south of Danang that he went out into the field Monday morning to relieve Lieut. Schurtz. Company A at first refused to move again down the jungled, rocky slopes of Nuilon Mountain into a labyrinth of North Vietnamese bunkers and trench lines after having made the same push and being driven back five consecutive days…. After persuasion by Colonel Bacon, Maj. Richard Waite and Sgt. Okey Blankenship, the company finally moved out. Colonel Bacon said today that he made the decision to relieve Lieutenant Shurtz Sunday night. 'I went out personally,' Colonel Bacon said. 'I wasn't satisfied with the progress the company was making in the two or three days I had them. I made the decision for a lot of reasons. I didn't think he–Shurtz–had the experience to handle the job. It became more apparent as time progressed that we needed new blood in the job. The company wasn't responsive, it was dragging its feet. It was slow getting its gear together. I didn't think the company moved when I wanted it to. I would tell them to move out at 6 A.M. They would move at 6:30. The company was not responsive.' Colonel Bacon said the incident Sunday 'was certainly a contributing factor' in relieving Lieut. Shurtz. He said, however, that his decision 'was not solely based on that."… Lietenant Shurtz had been in Vietnam a month and had command of Company A for three weeks. A spokesman for the Americal Division and Colonel Bacon said that to their knowledge no charges were pending against anyone and no formal investigation was being conducted. 'The matter is not being further pursued. The men are still in the company and Company A is in the field.'…"


JAMES RESTON opines and comments on BALKY COMPANY A… "A Whiff of Mutiny"…

Lest we forget… Bear


Some news from around the world for 18 November thanks to Military Periscope

USA—Navy Begins Studies On Future Trident SLBM Modernization EffortsUSNI News | 11/18/2019The U.S. Navy is taking the first steps toward new life-extension work for its Trident D5 submarine-launched ballistic missile, reports USNI News.A new funding line was included in the fiscal 2020 budget as part of efforts to determine how to keep the Trident in service through 2084, the planned service life of the future Columbia-class missile boats, Vice Adm. Johnny Wolf, director of the Navy's Strategic Systems Program, said at the Naval Submarine League's annual symposium, in Arlington, Va. The missiles have already gone through one life extension effort. Five of the modernized missiles successfully completed flight tests last year.Additional work to keep the Tridents serviceable through 2084 is needed, said officials.For example, the Navy expects to develop replacements for the missile's post-boost control system to take advantage of the latest technology.

USA—Trump Administration Demands Fourfold Increase In Payments For Hosting U.S. ForcesForeign Policy | 11/18/2019The Trump administration wants Japan to significantly increase its share of the cost of hosting U.S. forces, reports Foreign Policy.During a visit in July, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Matt Pottinger, the National Security Council's Asia director, delivered the request to Japanese officials.The administration asked for Tokyo to quadruple its payments to around US$8 billion for the costs of maintaining 54,000 troops in Japan, said unnamed sources.The current burden-sharing agreement expires in 2021.A spokesman for the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry told Reuters that the reports were untrue and that no negotiations on such an agreement had taken place.The Trump administration has criticized allies for failing to adequately compensate the U.S. for the cost of hosting American forces on their territory.Washington is seeking a similar increase from South Korea.Analysts have expressed concern that the exorbitant demands could increase anti-Americanism in those countries and weaken U.S. alliances.

USA—Trump Intervenes In Murder Cases Involving Military PersonnelNew York Times | 11/18/2019President Donald Trump has intervened in the cases of three U.S. troops accused of murder during deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, reports NBC News.On Friday, Trump dismissed charges against Green Beret Maj. Matt Golsteyn; pardoned Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance; and restored the rank of Navy SEAL Edward Gallagher.Golsteyn was charged with premediated murder. During a CIA polygraph, he admitted to murdering an unarmed Afghan man, suspected of being a Taliban bombmaker, during a 2010 deployment in Afghanistan.Lorance was six years into 19-year sentence handed down for ordering soldiers under his command to fire on Afghan villagers, resulting in the deaths of two Afghan men, reported NPR News.Gallagher had his rank restored to chief petty officer. He was demoted in July after he was convicted of posing next to a corpse in Iraq. In the same trial, he was acquitted of more serious charges that included the murder of a suspected ISIS prisoner in 2017.Many in the military opposed Trump's move, which was made against the advice of top defense officials. The decision was seen as disregard for the decisions of military juries as well as the judicial process, reported the New York Times.Military officials have expressed concern that Trump's actions could erode discipline by sending the message to troops and commanders that in some cases the laws of war would not apply.

Burkina Faso—32 Terrorists Killed In Ops In North, Says MilitaryAgence France-Presse | 11/18/2019The Burkinabe military says that it has killed 32 terrorists in two operations in the northern part of the country, reports Agence France-Presse.One operation occurred on Friday in Yorsala in Loroum province, where troops freed several women enslaved by the militants, the army said on Sunday.Twenty-four militants were killed in the operation.Another eight militants were killed in a second operation in Bourzanga in Bam province, said the military. Soldiers recovered arms, ammunition and other materiel from the site.One soldier was killed in the two operations, the military said without providing further details.The operations took place after militants ambushed a convoy operated by a Canadian mining company, killing 37 people, earlier this month.Since 2015, hundreds of civilians have been killed in growing violence involving an array of groups, including those linked to ISIS and Al-Qaida.

Ghana—Cobra Armored Vehicles Revealed During ExerciseDefence Web | 11/18/2019The Ghanaian army showed off several Otokar Cobra and Cobra II armored personnel carriers during an exercise earlier this month, reports Defence Web (South Africa).Two Cobra and two Cobra II vehicles were observed on Nov. 9 during the Eagle Eye counterterrorism exercise in Accra.The exercise simulated the takeover of the Ecobank head office high-rise building by jihadists. Elements of the army's 64th Infantry Regiment counterterrorism unit retook the building with support from the 153rd Armored Regiment and military police.The Cobras were equipped with 7.62-mm machine guns in protected gun stations, while the Cobra IIs carried 12.7-mm machine guns in protected stations. One of the Cobras also appeared to be fitted with an electro-optical sensor, noted Jane's Defence Weekly.This was the first time that the Cobra has been confirmed in Ghanaian service.Other African customers include Burkina Faso, Algeria, Mauritania, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tunisia, Chad and Senegal.

France—Griffon, Jaguar Armored Vehicles Show Off Beach Landing CapabilitiesDefense-Aerospace | 11/18/2019The French army's new Griffon and Jaguar armored vehicles have successfully completed maritime transport qualification tests, reports the trials from Nov. 5 to Nov. 7, the armored vehicles demonstrated their ability to embark and disembark from an equipment barge and an amphibious landing craft, the French Directorate General for Armaments announced last week. The vehicles also maneuvered in the immediate areas around the landing site as part of the tests.Follow-on trials are planned for 2020 to demonstrate the ability of the Griffon and Jaguar to operate from a French navy helicopter carrier.

Pakistan—Islamabad Test-Fires Ballistic Missile Days After Indian IRBM TrialDawn | 11/18/2019The Pakistani military says that it has successfully test-launched a short-range ballistic missile, reports the Dawn (Karachi).On Monday, the Army Strategic Forces Command launched the Shaheen I missile as part of a test of its operational readiness, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the military's media wing.The Shaheen missile is designed to deliver "all types or warheads" at ranges of up to 400 miles (650 km).On Saturday, India successfully conducted its first nighttime launch of the Agni II intermediate-range ballistic missile, reported the Indo-Asian News Service. The missile successfully hit a target in the Bay of Bengal.The two-stage missile can carry warheads of up to 1,300 pounds (600 kg) up to 1,250 miles (2,000 km), noted the Press Trust of India.The Shaheen I test was Pakistan's fourth missile test this year.

Iraq—Leaked Cables Show Deep Iranian Influence In IraqNew York Times | 11/18/2019Leaked Iranian intelligence cables have shed new light on the extent of the Tehran's influence in neighboring Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, reports the New York Times.The 700-pages of cables, which were first shared with the Intercept (U.K), show the degree to which Iranian institutions had penetrated the government of Iraq.The documents primarily cover the period from 2014 to 2015 and include accounts of meetings with foreign officials as well as items like expense reports.The Iranian Ministry of Information and Security and the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), were the main instruments of Iranian influence, according to the cables.The cables suggest a rivalry between the two institutions.One item describes Iran's special relationship with Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi.In another, Gen. Hatem al-Maksusi, then-commander of military intelligence in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, sent a message to Iran through a subordinate: "… we are at your service … We are Shi'ite and have a common enemy."The cables also show how Iran began strengthening its power in Iraq in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion in 2003, including dispatching its best intelligence agents in an effort to counter Washington.The Intercept says the documents were shared anonymously and has not yet confirmed the identity of the individual or individuals who leaked the cables.

Nigeria—Legislature Gives Green Light To Army ID OpThis Day | 11/18/2019Nigerian lawmakers have approved a Nigerian army operation requiring the public to present ID while traveling, reports This Day (Lagos).The army planned to conduct the checks from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23 as part of Operation Positive Identification. Members of the legislature had initially opposed the plan, warning that it could violate freedom of movement, which is guaranteed in the Nigerian constitution.On Nov. 5, a Nigerian court ordered the suspension of the operation, reported the Premium Times (Lagos) at the time. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Nov. 18.The lower house lifted its objection after hearing a report from the army committee, which required the army to conduct checks only in conjunction with other security agencies, such as the Nigerian Immigration Service and police.The report also called for the formation of a joint intelligence and monitoring team to monitor the operation and serve as a safeguard against abuse.

Sri Lanka—New President Sworn InDaily Mirror | 11/18/2019Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been sworn in as the new president of Sri Lanka, reports the Daily Mirror (Colombo).Rajapaksa was sworn in on Monday, a day after he secured an outright majority over rival Sajith Premadasa, reported the Island (Colombo).The retired military officer is the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who held the post from 2005 to 2015.During the election, Rajapaksa courted the Sinhala majority, who make up about 70 percent of the country, reported Agence France-Presse.He has pledged to strengthen the state's intelligence and surveillance capabilities, which were criticized following the deadly Easter bombings in Sri Lanka in April that killed more than 250 people.The new president's position has raised concerns among the island's Tamil minority. A 25-year insurgency led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was ended after an overwhelming offensive overseen in part by Mahinda Rajapaksa. Humanitarian groups have alleged that many war crimes were committed during the operation.

Germany—Parliamentary Approval Still Needed For Next Phase Of Multinational Fighter ProjectDefense News | 11/18/2019The German Defense Ministry is working to finalize contracts for the next phase of the Future Combat Air System (FCAS) program with France and Spain ahead of a January deadline, reports Defense News.Germany is negotiating the deal with an industry consortium led by Airbus and Dassault and must still obtain budgetary approval from parliament.Plans call for the proposal to be submitted to the legislature prior to Christmas.The next phase of the program is scheduled to begin in January. Germany, France and Spain are each obligated to contribute 75 million euros (US$83 million) to research and development in that phase. The upcoming work focuses on the airframe and cockpit of the next-generation fighter element as well as analyses for the fighter's engine, remote carriers and a multiplatform communications architecture.Work on very low observability technology and sensors has been suspended pending the conclusion of a joint concept study in 2021.

Indonesia—Police Crack Down On Suspected Militants After Suicide BombingAntara News Agency | 11/18/2019Nineteen suspected terrorists have been arrested throughout Indonesia following a suicide attack on a police station, reports Antara News, Indonesia's national news agency.On Wednesday, a suicide bomber set off his explosives at the Medan city police headquarters in North Sumatra province. Six people were injured in the blast.Arrests were made in the provinces of North Sumatra, Riau, Ambon, Banten, Central Java and East Java.Police also announced increased security measures to guard against similar attacks, including conducting checks on people wearing jackets or carrying backpacks, a spokesman said.

North Korea—Pyongyang Rejects Another Summit With Trump Due To Lack Of Progress In TalksWall Street Journal | 11/18/2019North Korea has rejected U.S. President Donald Trump's recent suggestion of another summit with dictator Kim Jong Un, reports the Wall Street Journal.In a statement on Sunday, Trump urged Kim to "get the deal done" and suggested another a meeting in the near future.A North Korean diplomat said on Monday that Pyongyang is "not interested in summits that give us nothing."Talks in Stockholm were abruptly cancelled last month after North Korea criticized U.S. offers as fundamentally the same as previous ones rejected by Pyongyang.North Korea has indicated that it is prepared for increased confrontation if an end of the year deadline to reach a deal passes.On Saturday, Kim oversaw an air force exercise at the Wonsan Kalma Airport, reported the Yonhap news agency (Seoul).

Japan—Self-Defense Force Retakes Southern Island In DrillAsahi Shimbun | 11/18/2019The Japan Self-Defense Forces have just conducted an amphibious exercise on the southern island of Tanegashima, reports the Asahi Shimbun.The Nov. 14 demonstration was part of a larger series of joint drills around Japan that began on Nov. 11 and run through Nov. 21.During the amphibious exercise, the helicopter carrier Kaga and two transport vessels, including the landing ship Kunisaki, deployed off the coast of Tanegashima with elements from the army's Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade, the navy's mine warfare force and the air force's air defense command, reported the Japan News. Ten AAV7 amphibious vehicles deployed from the Kunisaki to land on the island and secure a beachhead.Approximately 1,500 personnel from the ground, maritime and air forces were expected to participate in the joint exercises.During the drills, the Kaga served as a command-and-control node, a main role for the vessel in a crisis, officials said.In 2018, the Japanese Defense Ministry made amphibious operations an emphasis, in part as a response to increasing Chinese operations off Japanese islands.

South Africa—Several Injured As Police Clear Refugees From U.N. OfficesNews24 | 11/18/2019South African police have removed a large contingent of refugees from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugee's office in Pretoria, reports News24 (South Africa).On Friday, violence broke out as police began to remove the refugees. Many resisted, hitting police shields and throwing rocks and other objects. Four police and an unknown number of refugees were injured.Police reportedly did not use rubber bullets, stun grenades or tear gas during the operation. The refugees were charged with trespassing after forcing their way into the UNHCR facility on Thursday in an attempt to avoid a court order giving them three days to leave the area. Since October, refugees have been living on the pavement in front of the U.N. offices. They have been seeking resettlement elsewhere over fears of xenophobic attacks in South Africa.

China—Type 001A Carrier Makes Way To S. China Sea For TrialsSouth China Morning Post | 11/18/2019China's first domestically designed and built aircraft carrier is on its way to the South China Sea for trials, reports the South China Morning Post.On Sunday, the as-yet-unnamed Type 001A carrier passed through the Taiwan Strait on its way to the South China Sea to conduct "scientific trials and routine training," said a navy spokesman.The passage was not aimed at a specific target, the spokesman said.In response to the operation, Taiwan scrambled fighter jets and dispatched ships to monitor the carrier, reported Deutsche Welle.The move comes as Taiwan prepares for presidential and legislative elections that pit pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen against the Kuomintang party, which is perceived as being more friendly to the mainland.On Nov. 12, the guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville passed through the waterway in what the U.S. called a demonstration of its "commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific."Taiwanese experts said the passage was likely due to strong winds north of Taiwan and was not part of a political message. If Beijing wanted to send a political signal, it would do so explicitly, the experts said.

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